Here’s Why We Have Decided to Not Buy an RV

We have wanted an RV for as long as we have been married (over 25 years). The idea of just getting in the car and driving to a new location with all of the stuff you need and not worrying about getting a hotel, carrying everything inside, dealing with check-in and check-out times, etc. is so appealing. Wandering through the country is also an exciting thought. It is what gets me through the tough days at work, knowing that we are saving money to do this pretty much full time one day.

If you look at RVs, you have two main options: the drivable RVs and the trailers. Inside those two options, there are tons of variations (class A, class B, class C, 5th wheel, trailer, van camper, etc.) so the research can be a daunting task.

Looking at Trailer Options

Our first thought was a trailer since you still have a car to drive around at your camping location, they are a lot less expensive, and there is less to go wrong. We looked at various trailers that we could pull with our all-wheel-drive Kia Sorrento. We were focusing on the under 3,000 lb trailers to make sure we had enough space in our towing limit of 5,000 lbs (that needs to include the passengers and any of stuff we bring along) with some room for a safety margin. While we found some in our budget range, our concern with the trailer was driving the car that was towing it. We have a boat and have pulled it for long distances. It is definitely unwieldy to drive and hard to maneuver. Pulling a trailer for long distances gave us some hesitation, so with our geeky nature – more research was needed.

RV Research Uncovers Deal Breakers

We started joined Facebook RV groups (full-time RVers, local RV enthusiasts and more) and found two things that scared us: the black tank (the used toilet tank) and towing.

The Scary Stories of the Black Tank

We heard story after story of black tank clogs and other issues with lots of solutions, all which sounded messy and really gross. There didn’t seem to be a good preventative solution for the clogs, just an acceptance that there will be problems and how to best deal with them. There were also odor issues, emptying the tanks, and other parts to the general maintenance. After reading a lot of stories, we decided that just we won’t use the toilet in our RV since we will be at campgrounds, which usually have bathroom facilities.

Towing Nightmares

The other aspect of an RV trailer that worried us is towing. We saw lots of videos of people towing trailers that were basically out of control (swaying back and forth, some actually ended up overturned).

Car towing trailer getting into an accident

Watching this was super scary, and it was something that we just felt uncomfortable with in general.

A Solution to All of our Problems – Van Camper

Inside the van camper. Unfilled bed, pillows, guitar, book, hat, white wooden decoration of the house on wheels.
Van camper interior

After we compiled all of our research (and deciding not to use the bathroom in the RV), we decided why do we even need the whole trailer, and if we don’t need all that room, let’s not even tow anything. The solution came into view: van camper.

There are so many beautiful examples of van campers with small kitchens, beds that turn into dinettes, storage, and even bathrooms. This project will allow us to build it to our exact specifications around what we want to bring and do while camping. We will be starting this process in the next year and detailing our research, budget, decisions, finding the right van, and the build process as we take this on ourselves.

Here is to an exciting project and year and thanks for joining along with us!


10 Responses

  1. Fran says:

    I had a camper can for 3 years- great fun and the only vehicle I’ve sold at a profit-as well as staying in some fabulous places. Good luck with the build- keep it simple- remember weight is money xx

  2. Stephanie says:

    We bought an RV then decided we wanted to hike everywhere. Lol. Now it’s for sale. Wish I’d read this first!

  3. Katelyn says:

    I can’t wait to hear about your van camper adventures! Such a nice side by side comparison!

  4. Nina Kennett says:

    Great thinking! Look forward to hearing how it pans out!

  5. Britt says:

    We have been seriously considering the van camper route as well. It would be the perfect way to head out on a good road trip with the dogs!

  6. Sakura says:

    That Van Camper looks like an Instagram heaven <3 Lol, sorry, I'm a nano influencer and view most of the world through that lens. But more on topic, this looks like a great alternative to an RV. I personally don't like driving and couldn't manage doing it for more than a couple of hours, but for those with the grit and the stamina, this seems like a great way to get out and travel.

  7. Those are some pretty solid deal breakers indeed. Glad you’re innovating your own solution with the van camper and customizing it to your own needs and wants! Way to go!

  8. Krystyna says:

    I loved reading this! I’ve been considering some sort of van or RV for ages and never made up my mind what to get. This really helped frame my thoughts.

  9. Andi says:

    I’ve subscribed to your blog as I am keenly interested to see how it goes. My hubby and I RV’d for almost 2 years in a Class A motorcoach. We didn’t try it out before we took off and did it and there were different reasons why we decided to stop, neither of them were the reasons you decided to go with a van conversion. RVing is definitely interesting and full of obstacles and I like to watch other people’s experiences!

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